Haz-Mat Teams Called out After Flash Fire

Two hazardous material teams were called out after flash fire burned at the Scripps Research Institute building on Thursday morning, according to the San Diego Fire Department.

Officials said the fire department got a call about the fire at 9:24 p.m. at the building near at UCSD in the 10650 block of North Torrey Pines Road. A second haz-mat team was requested shortly before 10:30 a.m.

Forty firefighters were called out, San Diego Fire Rescue spokesman Maurice Lugue said.

Five people were in the lab on the fourth floor working with lithium aluminum hydride when the incident occurred, and there were about 45 other people inside the building when the fire broke out. The five people in the lab at the time put out the fire immediately with extinguishers, Luque said.

Lithium aluminum hydride -- an odorless solid that reacts violently with water, acids and oxygenated compounds -- is a very corrosive and highly explosive chemical.

After the fire, there was a report of gas fumes, prompting the call for the haz-mat teams.

Nobody was hurt, according to Luque.

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